Last spring, rising senior John Webster III found himself a golfer without a high school.
The Kingston resident attended Sacred Heart High School, under the auspices of the Sisters of Divine Providence, which made the decision to close at the end of the school year due to declining enrollment and financial troubles. Fast forward to this fall when Webster culminated a spectacular senior season by winning the individual Cape and Islands High School Golf Championships last month at Willowbend in Mashpee.
John Webster, St. John Paul II senior and this year’s winner of the Walter Hewins Trophy for individual achievement at the Cape and Islands High School Golf Championships. Not only did he lead the St. John Paul II team to its first-ever tournament championship, but his low medalist score of 73 earned the Walter Hewins Trophy. The trophy has been given to the individual winner of this tournament since its inception in 1958. He’s the first JP II player to win the trophy.
“I toured (St. John Paul) freshman year because I was looking for a new school,” he said. “I’ve known coach (Geoff) Converse over the years, and he’s a very good guy.”
However, since soccer was his main sport and most of his teammates planned to attend Sacred Heart, he decided to join them there.
The decision to attend St. John Paul II
Last January when Sacred Heart put out a notice that it would be closing, Webster had two options if he wanted to continue in parochial school. One was to attend Cardinal Spellman in Brockton, where many of his Sacred Heart classmates planned to attend, the other was to attend St. John Paul II, which was the parochial school closest to his home in Mashpee.
His decision to attend St. John Paul II was more for academic reasons than golf.
“They were going to be having in-school classes instead of remote learning, which was the deciding factor for me,” he said. “I knew it would be a really good fit and it was more convenient driving in from Mashpee.”
A multi-sport athlete who also once took part in competitive go-kart racing as well as soccer, he began playing golf in his backyard at age 4. His grandfather Donald McCarthy of Falmouth first taught him how to play.
“He still comes out to a lot of my tournaments in the summer to watch me play,” Webster said.
Breaking the tournament ‘curse’
Tournament play had not been friendly to Webster in recent years, as he’s had a difficult time breaking 88 in the local sectional qualifiers.
“I felt I was cursed at the number 88 and could never shoot better than that,” he said. “But my mental game and my game, itself, has improved so much. I just focused on this one tournament and thought to myself, ‘I gotta win this.’”
He began strong at the Willowbend championships, recording back-to-back birdies on the second and third holes, then later on 11, added another birdie. He knew he was on his way. “I felt like I got comfortable around the eighth hole and really tried to dial it in and focus,” he recalled of his winning round. “I had just come off a bogey and I thought to myself, I’m finally in this position, it’s where I want to be. Why not try to finish the round the best I can.”
Not only did he come away as a low medalist with his 73 to lead the team to victory, but his top score captured the 62nd annual Walter Hewins trophy. Informed that many past winners of the award went on to storied careers in the sport of golf, his eyes widened.
“My dream is to one day become a tour player. It’s been my dream since I first began to play golf,” he said.
And it looks like he is already well on his way.
20 Questions with John Webster II
1. Favorite subject: Economics
2. Favorite book: “The Greatest Game Ever Played” by Mark Frost
3. Favorite food: Mexican
4. Favorite movie: “The Wolf of Wall Street”
5. Favorite TV show: “F1”
6. Favorite Cape restaurant: The Brazilian Grill in Hyannis
7. Favorite Cape hangout: Woods Hole or any Golf Course
8. Favorite sports team: Atlanta Falcons
9. Favorite athlete: Tiger Woods or Sebastian Vettel
10. Favorite “pump-up” music: Anything by Eminem
11. Best advice I’ve received: “Wherever life takes you, be a good person throughout.”
12. Person I’d most like to meet: Donald Trump or Elon Musk
13. Hobbies and interests: Golf, racing, broadcasting
14. Own greatest sports moment: Winning the Walter Hewins Award because I hadn’t won anything all year and it really was a confidence booster.
15. Most inspirational person: Jane Frost, my golf coach
16. Pregame rituals / superstitions: Always stretch, listen to some music, and prayer are my pre-game rituals.
17. Bucket list place to visit: Augusta National, Monaco, St. Andrews, Dubai, and Venice
18. Biggest sports setback or obstacle: My biggest sports obstacle had to be when I was doubted by an old golf coach. Also, when I was younger, I used to race go-karts in many leagues, and since I was too small, I was not moved up to a bigger division. I was crushed because I had what it took to be in that division, but at this point, height mattered and I did not continue with racing.
19. College plans / major: I have not committed to a college yet, but I hope to soon play Division 1 or 2 golf. I plan to major in Finance or Communications.
20. Advice to young athletes: Believe in what you do, if things get tough, if you are doubted, or if you hit a slump, be confident and work harder. Redefine what matters to you the most in your respective sport and surround yourself with people who will uplift you and not bring you down.
Sourced: Mike Richard by email at firstname.lastname@example.org